ONE of the first things I expected to see on people's LEGO web pages was a minifig chess set. I searched and searched, but could not find one! I was so surprised... I was also somewhat glad, as this meant I could create my own without having first been biased by seeing how someone else did theirs.
I don't even collect castle LEGO sets, so I considered creating a men vs. monsters or pirates vs Imperial Guards sort of set. I could have had Islanders on aligators for knights for example, or wizards on dragons... The posibilities seemed endless. In the end I decided to stay traditional for my first attempt. Not being a castle collector however, this meant I had a lot of shopping to do. I tried to find sets on sale, always keeping an eye out for the specific pieces I needed. I'm not sure how much it cost me total, but it was certainly more than $100.
I started out thinking I would have a board made up of 4x4 flat pieces, black and white. I soon realized that there was no way I would be able to afford all those flat pieces. So I went for a "raised" effect instead. The decision to go blue and red rather than black and white came as I realized how drab the final appearance would be. I wanted the figures to "pop" off the board, and I knew the figures would be predominantly black and white. I made the squares 6x6 so that I'd be able to use horses for the knights. I added a yellow border for color balance and... bingo! It JUST FIT on a large grey baseplate!
One side of figures uses a white and red color scheme, and the other uses mostly black and blue. The white side appears to have a larger budget for outfitting their crew, many of which happen to have red hair. The black side looks a bit scruffier with their black hair, stubble, and unsaddled horses. Bishops were a bit of a problem. I couldn't think of a good way to create a religous figure, so I went for magical wizards and undead skeletons.
Close examination reveals details such as treasure chests in the black castles, a white queen who seems friendly enough but hides a knife behind her back, and pieces who differ for right and left positions.
This overall view of the board and pieces is a clickable imagemap.
|White King||Black King|
|White Queen||Black Queen|
|White Bishop||Black Bishop (L) (R)|
|White Knight (L) (R)||Black Knight (L) (R)|
|White Rook (L) (R)||Black Rook (L) (R)|
|White Pawn||Black Pawn|